Texas Schools Could Be Safer for Children with Proposed ‘Do Not Hire’ List
According to the Texas Education Agency, over 300 inappropriate relationships were reported in the state during the 2016-2017 school year. That's not great. In an attempt to protect these students, Gov. Greg Abbott has presented a plan for a "do-not-hire" registry.
As the key component of his proposal, this list would enforce any adult in the school system who has had unlawful interactions with a student to be banned from any future school employment. Any name on the registry would not be allowed to be hired as a "teacher, librarian, educational aide, administrator, counselor, school nurse/medical aide or any other position with direct, unsupervised contact with students".
Another part of his proposal, as far as student/teacher relationships go, allows the state board of education to suspend the certificate of any teacher charged with criminal conduct. In a video statement (see a clip above from Big Country), Abbott says:
Nothing is more important than the safety and security of our communities. Working together, we will ensure a safe or future for the Lone Star State..."
While the student/teacher misconduct ban was the highlight of the proposal, that wasn't the only step Abbott wants to take to protect victims of sexual assault. His plan, which you can read in full here, also includes:
- Funding of crime lab testing "to eliminate the backlog of sexual assault evidence kits," by committing $14 million for 2020-2021. It would also create regional human trafficking squads for $22 million at the state level and increase penalties for traffickers.
- Allowing the Texas Rangers to handle sexual assault claims against state employees at the Capitol, including legislators.
- There will also be an online private portal for state employees to report these cases.